Man gets 69 years for operating meth ring
A 50-year-old man who was the leader of a local methamphetamine ring was sentenced Wednesday to 69 years in prison.
Steven Anthony Valles was convicted by a jury in February on eight drug-related charges, including conspiracy, distribution and possession.
Undercover police officers with the Western Colorado Drug Task Force purchased drugs from Valles, who was labeled a mid-to high-level dealer, during four incidents starting in December 2006.
Valles maintained his innocence in a speech to Mesa County District Judge Valerie Robison during Wednesday’s sentencing, saying, “I wasn’t selling dope. I was around a lot of people who were.”
An undercover officer in court called Valles a predator and said he used drug-addicted people around him as a shield to sell methamphetamine.
Many of the six others who were arrested have received sentences that range from probation to 16 years in prison. Others arrested in the October 2008 raid include Jennifer Williams, Robert York, Tracy Black, Lisa Murray, Denise Johann and Jerry Hoshour.
While police were serving a warrant for one of the ring members in Mesa County, they stumbled across a meth lab located in a storage shed.